[schema type=”event” evtype=”Festival” name=”Amphi Festival” description=”By: Sabine van Gameren and Nina Mende” sdate=”2016-07-23″ street=”Tanzbrunnen” city=”Cologne” country=”DE” ]
Early Sunday morning at Amphi Festival brought out only a few people, but everyone was about to slowly wake up and find their ways to the festival grounds. The first band opening the main stage today, was Beyond Obsession. Beyond Obsession is a synth pop duo from Germany. The two were absolutely excited to perform here at Amphi Festival today and were surprised how many people had come out already. The soft but catchy music of the two was perfected by the great vocals of the singer. The early birds on the festival ground loved it and cheered out loud for the band.
The theater stage was opened by Xotox. Xotox is a solo musical project started by Andreas Davids in 1998 but live Xotox is a duo. Today. to celebrate their band anniversary, Xotox played a best of set. The duo was behind a table, on their Macs and synthesizers. playing and celebrating their music, and so did the audience. It was a noisy and intense performance and a good wake up call, because there were still quite some bands to play today.
On the mainstage we are watching Tüsn. They are a rather young band from Berlin, being founded about one and a half year ago. The band does not really want to define themselves too much but we can say that the Berlin feeling is in there, the indie electronic hip thing is there. Now you know? Well it IS confusing as they seem to be a bit searching for something at the moment. A bit out of place at Amphi and yet suitable for a festival like this. The show was rather static, the trio is quite stuck in one place and the early birds at the festival seem not too sure what to do with this band. Yep, totally what you expect to find in Berlin in a random place, but a bit too raw for here right now.
The theater stage was ready for Mantus now. Mantus is a band from Cologne, Germany. It was formed in 1997 by Martin Schindler. The band’s name derives from the eponymous god of the underworld of the Etruscans. They disbanded in 2005 but reunited in 2008. The band has two vocalists, Chiara and Martin. Chiara was opening the set before Markus was taking over. Chiara danced and sang for the audience while Martin was focused on his guitar playing. The music sounded professional and each song was carrying its own spirit. The audience loved it and went along with the music. The lyrics had interesting topics. Some songs were quite dreamy while others were more serious. But they all added up to a perfect match. It was a great performance in the dim and steamy theater house.
The rockers of Unzucht have been at this stage before and they did well. Now they are visibly happy to be back, smiling and sending those ‘this is awesome’ looks to eachother while they play their songs. Their frontman is very charismatic and has no problems in getting the audience wind up around his finger but they have more active bandmembers onstage. This stage is seen at every square centimetre and with some catchy songs in their repertoire these guys are perfect for a festival. Their energy radiates to the crowd and let the people get along. It’s been a while since we heard something new from them, but with this show they put themselves back in our minds for whenever something new comes out.
The Beauty of Gemina is one we have seen here before as well. The guys come from Switzerland and have a gothic sound, calmly all over and never getting too intense with the songs on their setlist. From what we have seen before it looked a bit mellow. Although we expected the atmosphere in the theatre to set in easily with these guys, it was not really satisfying. A bit dreary and maybe it is the time of the day that the band is playing at, but it does not come alive. Currently the band is ready for the release of a new album called “Minor Sun” which will be out in September and then the guys plan to return to Germany which gives them plenty of time to find a way to make their performance less boring.
The sun did not go away and the festival ground was heated up big time. Everyone was soaked in sweat and was begging for a cool breeze. But as Solar Fake entered the stage, all this was forgotten. Solar Fake is the electro-act of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Sven Friedrich, also known for his other projects Zeraphine and Dreadful Shadows. The duo came on stage, beginning right away with their catchy music. The audience began dancing along instantly. The smooth and melodic songs took turns with the harsher and more intense ones. The audience loved the mix, singing along to every song. Solar Fake moved around ons tage, dancing, jumping and animating the audience to go along even more. It was an amazing performance. The duo from Berlin played old and new songs and the audience knew the lyrics to all of them. What a brilliant show that let everyone forget about the heat.
Ost+Front is seeking a lot of inspiration from Rammstein, but to know what to expect just looking at the name will tell you a lot. It is a show, that I must say, because the performance we see today is so much more than just the songs and their story. A well decorated stage is giving you the feeling to be in the middle of the scene, being part of it and when the guys come on and start their music the whole becomes even more alive.
Their music is heavy and deep, the lyrics in German and the intonation is clear. The darkness of the theater helps the band with the atmosphere they are looking for and with a proper performance set you can say this band is entertaining a lot. The full package is there and when their set is over you can safely say you witnessed an impressive experience. Really one of the highlights this day.
Thirty years of band history was about to be celebrated here and now. Suicide Commando had been raging on stage for quite a while now. Suicide Commando is a Belgian electro-industrial music act created by Johan van Roy in 1986. The signer came on stage with a big black hat, like we know it from garden dwarves, but it was also covering his face. He kept it on for the entire first song, before he took it off so the audience could actually see his face. Each and every single band member was heavily moving along to the music they created, animating not only their fans to go along. And they did. The music was intense and loud. Most lyrics were distorted. The signer kept posing for the audience, sticking out his tongue and asked them to rage a little more. You could tell the experience of the band by watching them. The music and performance was absolutely passionate and intense. It was an amazing show of Suicide Commando. Off to another 30 years!
If we say show, Coppelius is one to think of when being at Amphi and them being placed on the Theater stage is certainly a wise decision. The show is perhaps not something new for people who have seen the band before as the band keeps the same elements alive through the years, but the wildness of flutes, bass, cello and whatever comes up next to these vocals coming from basically all of them the whole remains a dynamic spectacle to observe. Where the band sticks a bit behind are the vocals. Sometimes they appear a bit unstable, getting lost in the show. What really misses is the focus on these to bring out even more of them. But altogether, Coppelius is not ever getting boring, a fine show.
The day was going closer to the end and it was time for another highlight: Covenant was about to play on the main stage. Covenant is an electronic band formed in 1986 in Helsingborg, Sweden. The band is currently composed of Eskil Simonsson and Joakim Montelius alongside touring members Andreas Catjar and Daniel Jonasson from Dupont. As the singer entered the stage, the audience was a little dazzled: He had no hair. Where everyone was used to see the singer with his beautiful hair, he came on bold with black glasses. You could see the little smirk on his face, enjoying the puzzled faces. The sweet melodic music and catchy tunes carried the audience away in an instant, distracting them from the missing hairdo and instead let them enjoy the show. Covenant got everyone to sway, dance, sing and move along. Most people knew the lyrics to the songs, whether it was old or new ones. Each band member was moving along to the music and the singer was moving around on stage a bit, but mainly focusing to the center. The audience loved their performance and didn’t really want this show to end, but there were still some amazing bands left.
L’Âme Immortelle is revived again and they are celebrating their 20 years of existence. The duo Sonja Kraushofer and Thomas Rainer are bringing back the nostalgia when they enter the stage. But today’s setlist does not include all their biggest songs, but it does have a bunch of those crowdpleasers in there. People are cheering, “5 Jahre”, “Fallen Angel” and many more are passing by and it is clear that the people still have this duo in their hearts. Here and there you can see and hear the changes and the years in their sound and show, but that may be a minor thing to talk about as these two are obviously an act that puts the smile upon people’s faces.
A bit different than most bands is Moonspell, which unlike the other bands has a bit more of a Metal background. The Theater is well-filled when they are about to start and it is soon becoming clear that people know the band’s songs just as well here. The setlist is not much different than it is at the other dates we have seen the band play. At the many Metalfestivals the guys have visited they are often a band that is slightly different as well. And sure “Extinct”, “Opium”, “Vampyria” and “Alma Matters” are served again this night and are received with much bravura. The audience is a bit wilder an more enthusiastic as we have seen them ever before in this theatre and it raises the question whether these guys were perhaps more suited at the mainstage?
Last but not least is Editors. Wow, what a name! A band that suits so well at Amphi and yet does not. But we really admire the ballsy move to put them out there headlining this year’s Amphi. The British have released a new album in Autumn 2015 and that one is what they focus on, leaving a lot of their older work behind them.
Seeing Editors live is so significantly different than seeing any of the other Amphi acts. Frontman Tom Smith is having a whole range of movements and routines in him that sometimes give you the impression he is in some kind of trance, so deeply into the music he is performing. The other band members let him do what he does and contribute to that in their own, more modest way. Towards the end of the set the whole gets more and more energetic and while their big hit “Papillon” is played, the entire audience seemed to be getting along with it.
A spectacular closing of this year’s Amphi. It was all a bit different than ever before. Home, but yet a bit different. Some may have missed the Staatenhaus, some may adore the boat. Not in any way will everyone be happy, but altogether it are the Amphi visitors that make Amphi the success it is. Looking forward to next year?!
Photographed and reviewed by Nina Mende:
Beyond Obsession, Xotox, Mantas, Solar Fake, Suicide Commando, Covenant
Photographed and reviewed by Sabine van Gameren:
Tüsn, Unzucht, The Beauty of Gemina, Ost+Front, Coppelius, L’ame Immortelle, Moonspell, Editors
Read also: Day 1